First, it's been a while since I posted so, apologies. Second, I've changed the look of my Blog -- so scroll around a bit and you'll find everything that used to be here, just in a different place. Third, this column might wander a bit, but it will (as usual) all make some sort of sense in the end.
A lot has happened in the last six or eight months -- none-the-least of which was my final escape from the hell-hole that is Los Angeles after forty years of smog, traffic, angst, anger and the Southern California dream that died decades ago.
In a nutshell I just couldn't take it anymore. I mean really, I was ready to exit the Golden (Ha!) State years and years ago, but like with a lot of things "life got in the way." Well I finally got life out of the way on this one, it was either that or start playing "Death Race 2000" on the 405. Come to think of it, every day on the 405 was a death race... a very slow, slogging, crawl-of-a- race to an eventual high blood pressure-ridden check-out slumped over the wheel somewhere in the Sepulveda pass where no one would've found me, in plain sight, for a month. No thanks. That's why they call it the Rat Race. No one ever wins. There's no damn goal. And then you die.
So I drove cross country, 2,523 miles in about 35 hours (over two and half days) and only got one speeding ticket. In Florida. I asked the FLA State Trooper if the $253 ticket was my "Welcome to Florida present." He didn't think that was funny -- I did, I was less than 200 miles from my destination when he pulled me out of a six car convoy lead by a rabbit doing 110 mph. It must've been the California plates. I even asked him for a fruit basket. He didn't think that was funny either (but he only hit me for 87 mph. Nice guy). But ya know what? A few miles later, when I crossed over a long causeway up in the panhandle and saw nothing but blue sky, green forrest and ocean, it was worth ever penny. I could literally feel the stress leave my chest and the worry leave my shoulders. Whoever it was that said taking a geographic doesn't work was an idiot. And before I get a bunch of lectures on mixing my metaphors there -- yes, I know what a "geographic" is in its most accepted definition. I mean it differently. Like "you are what you eat." I would add "you are where you live." I live on 17 miles of beach on the Atlantic coast. Most days when I go out surf fishing (I do this everyday - patience and meditation), I can look up the beach north and down the beach south and see... no one. Not a single human being. Anywhere. Not always. But mostly. That's just fine with me. In fact it's perfect.
I arrived in Southern California as a kid somewhere around 1967ish. So give or take a few years, I was there for about 40 years. The second I arrived in Florida I shut down all my California companies and opened new ones in Florida. My personal favorite corporate name I came up with is "40 Years Later, Inc." I think I'll name my boat that as well when I get one.
I'll tell you another thing, another difference between Southern California and the East Coast Beach life aside from the slower pace of life, the much friendlier people (I swear to God every person I've passed walking my dog, on the beach, in a grocery store has said hello to me), the clean air, the clean water... it's the sunrises. In California I watched sunsets for forty years. Every day a ending. Every day another step closer to the grave and the sun going down everyday to remind you of that just incase you'd managed to forget after that horrible stop-n-go, 11 mile an hour drive home 20 miles that took 2 1/2 hours up the 405. Now, every morning I get up and watch a sunrise out over the Atlantic ocean. A new beginning every single day. Yes, yes, the sun still sets in Florida, but I get to watch it come up over the water every single morning. Glorious really. It gives me a fresh reminder every single morning of what's important. It makes me ever more thankful for every additional second I get to stay above ground. I feel like an Inca. In a good way. Without all the messy human sacrifice nastiness.
|Me and my son Gavin (my 2nd AD) on the set of "Smitty," Iowa, 2010|
Just last month a film I directed in Iowa in 2010 was finally released on DVD - SMITTY. A classic little boy-and-his-dog movie which, for the resources I had, I am quite proud of. Although the sales, marketing, release and promotion of the film was (in my humble opinion) a botch job of utterly expected proportions (two years it took to get this film out there? TWO YEARS?!), it is nonetheless a good little film. Oh wait, yeah, this, the tag line? The little catchy sentence that's supposed to get you to want to buy and watch the movie? "Everyone needs a friendly paw." Wait? What? If that's supposed to be a play in the phrase, "Everyone needs a helping hand" it fails miserably. But not to slam my own picture (just the ham-fisted, know-nothings that were tasked with getting it distributed) -- in fact with no advertising whatsoever it sold out at Amazon and WalMart.com it's first day in release. 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. It's kind of "the movie film the could." So buy a copy and tell your friends. I promise your kids from 4 to 10 will like it. And you will too. That's who I made it for. And as for working with my son, it's certainly one of the highlights of my career -- I could not be more proud of him. And he's the best 2nd AD I've ever worked with... soon to be the best 1st AD.
So anyway, I'm settled now and my goal is to post a new column every week for the rest of my life. Maybe two. I'm almost through a grueling edit of my book "Robert Radio Flyer, The King of Pacoima," and if I can figure out how to post a pdf to this blog I'll make the first chapter available as a sample -- like on Apple's iBooks and Nook, Kindle etc... It'll be for sale as a hard cover, paperback, and in all digital formats in about three weeks. You'll initially be able to get it at Amazon, and after that directly from the website I'm building for it.
Thanks for reading and check back soon.
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P.S. "The Florida Effect" -- I had to go to the emergency room the other morning at 3 AM, I was stung by a freaking Florida scorpion (dunno if that's a correct technical name, but it was a scorpion and he resides in Florida). They took my blood pressure. 114 over 70. Ha! DME "1" Scorpion "0".